The implementation of a presumed consent legislation in Wales saw an increasing proportion of the population registered for organ donation, a lower opting-out rate, and the highest overall consent, and organ donor rates of the four UK Nations in 2017.
A collaborative Paper with our Chief Executive Professor Roy J Thomas with Dr Richard Moore, former Trustee and Vice Chair who now resides in New Zealand and Professor Chris Jones of the National Assembly of Wales featured in Transplantation: December 2018 – Volume 102 – Issue 12 – p 1961–1962 link below. *
The percentage of the population opting-in to donation has steadily increased from 2014-2015 to 2017-2018 in Wales 34% to 40%, data of the Organ Donor Register.An increase of organ donation has also been observed in England but to a lesser extent (32% to 37% from 2014-2015 to 2017-2018, respectively).
The percentage of the Welsh population opting-out has remained steady; however, lower than the level of 19% predicted in a Welsh Assembly– commissioned study (from 5% in 2015-2016 to 6% in 2016-2018).
At the same time, consent rates increased from 58% in 2015 to 72% in 2017 in Wales. This rate compared favorably with 2017 rates in England (65%), Northern Ireland (71%), and Scotland (57%) in the absence of deemed consent.
Specifically looking at consent rates for brain dead donors in Wales, rates had even been higher with 70% in 2015 and 83% in 2017. England had comparable consent rates in 2015 (69%), and 71% in 2017. Consent for donation was obtained in 53% donors after circulatory death (DCD) in Wales in 2015, increasing to 64% in 2017. There was a smaller increase in consent rates for DCD donors in England over the same period from 56% to 60%.
House of Lords, Second Reading Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill
We are delighted that the legislation on deemed consent is going through its legislative stages at Westminster. Kidney Wales work was referenced to by Baroness (Jenny) Randerson in the House of Lords, Second Reading. Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill – 23rd November 2018.
Baroness Randerson said in the Lords “At a personal level, I believe passionately that a system of presumed consent, a soft opt-out system, is the answer to addressing the gap between the number of donated organs and the number that we really need to save as many lives as possible… I have some experience of this issue. As an Assembly Member in Wales, I was a member of the Health Committee. I was also spokesperson for my party on health issues in 2008 when the Kidney Wales Foundation and the BMA, together with other health groups, started to campaign for a system of presumed consent. I should declare that I was a trustee of the Kidney Wales Foundation from 2010 to 2012.”
On December 1, 2015, the Welsh Government introduced new legislation to allow presumed consent in organ donation,1 whereas the status quo of operating an opting-in approach was maintained in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England. The Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2013 that amended the UK Human Tissue Act from 2004 had been passed after considerable debate within both Wales and the United Kingdom. Thus, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England watched with interest and some degree of concern on the potential far-reaching consequences of this unilateral action by a confident devolved Welsh administration. England is now adopting the new laws.